‘Remember the person behind the dementia’ is the message from health and social care professionals during Dementia Awareness Week 2016 (15-21 May).
The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) are working jointly with the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia NI and Health and Social Care Trusts to promote a culture which ensures people with dementia are supported to live with dignity and without stigma.
Eleanor Ross, Nurse Consultant at PHA, said: “With an ageing population, dementia is becoming a bigger issue for society, so it is important that we look at how we can raise awareness about the condition and consider how we as a community respond to it.
“In 2014, the Delivering Social Change Dementia Signature Project was launched to transform the commissioning, design and delivery of dementia services for people in Northern Ireland and to improve the quality of care and support for people living with dementia.
“To date the project has enabled organisations from across the statutory, voluntary and independent health and social care sectors to work with local businesses to provide information and training about dementia. Innovative and flexible carer support schemes have allowed carers to be supported to continue to provide care to their loved ones in their own homes for as long as it is safe to do so and in the interests of everyone concerned.
“The project will also provide bespoke Dementia Champion training to 300 health and social care staff and specialist training on delirium, cognitive assessment and rehabilitation to improve services for people living with dementia.
“These services have all been designed following extensive consultation with people with dementia and their carers. People said they needed information about the condition and access to services. They also needed practical support to be available, planned or at short notice, to allow them to have a break from caring, recharge their batteries and have some time to themselves. This project enables that to happen.
“Another significant contribution to improving care to people with dementia and to creating a better understanding of the condition will be the launch in June 2016 of the Northern Ireland Dementia Learning and Development Framework.”
Speaking about the proposed launch of the Framework, Seamus McErlean, Social Care Commissioner at the HSCB said: “For the first time within dementia care, we will have a structure that can be used to develop training for health and social care staff. This will allow training providers and academics to develop courses appropriate to the professional and developmental needs of staff and will enable individual staff members to assess their own training requirements and seek out programmes best suited to meet those requirements.”
Both Eleanor Ross and Seamus McErlean commended the huge contribution that people with dementia and their carers had made to the delivery of the Dementia Project’s objectives.
For more information on dementia see:
If you, or a member of your family, have concerns about dementia, visit or call the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 which can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.